"There's no turning back on this. We're not going to turn back. And you know why? Because that's what the people want. That's why... there's no stopping high speed rail."
That from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood yesterday commenting on high speed choo-choos and, specifically, high speed choo-choos in California and for which we took him to task here for bemoaning constitutional republics that gum up the works and desires of statist authoritarians.
But you know what? LaHood may be right. High speed choo-choos may be coming and there very well be nothing we can do to stop it because we keep sending people to Sacramento and Washington who are completely oblivious to fiscal reality and fiscal sanity.
California lawmakers approved billions of dollars Friday in construction financing for the initial segment of the nation’s first dedicated high-speed rail line, which would connect Los Angeles and San Francisco..”
The move marked a major political victory for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and the Obama administration. Both have promoted bullet trains as job generators and clean transportation alternatives.
“No economy can grow faster than its transportation network allows,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement applauding the legislative vote. “With highways between California cities congested and airspace at a premium, Californians desperately need an alternative
Since when are these people interested in growing the economy that doesn't involve tax-payer money on stimulus plans? There is no such thing as a private sector to these people.
The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $4.5 billion in voter-approved bonds that includes $2.6 billion to build an initial 130-mile stretch of the high-speed rail line in the Central Valley. That will allow the state to collect another $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been rescinded if lawmakers failed to act Friday.
Just a reminder, gang: the state doesn't have that $4.5 billion plus interest and the U.S. government doesn't have that $3.2 billion plus interest neither.
The bill, which passed the state Assembly on Thursday, now heads to Brown for his signature.
“The Legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and puts California out in front once again,” Brown said in a statement. The governor celebrated with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento, a fellow Democrat, in the lawmaker’s office right after the vote.
How is spending other people's money taking "bold action"? How is doing only what is encoded in your poltical DNA as a tax and spend statist taking "bold action"?
The first segment of the line will run from Madera to Bakersfield. The final cost of the completed project from Los Angeles to San Francisco would be $68 billion.
A quick word on that $68 billion figure. It's based on a dummed-down plan from the original one the voters voted on back in 2008 and was done so as estimates for the original plan were getting statospheric in the $100-$120 billion range. Even so, in just 4 years, a dummed-down high speed rail that also included some budget gimmickry that Sacramento is famous for is still estimated to cost more than double the $33 billion price tag that was sold to the voters.
We end this sad, pathetic little tale with this:
Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is managing the project, said California would have lost billions of dollars in federal aid if the Senate had failed to pass the bill before adjourning Friday for its monthlong recess. California entered a contract that called for the federal government to provide money for building the Central Valley segment if the state also put up its share, he said.
That's what passes for today's macro-economic model: tranferring wealth to spend money in order to receive a transfer of wealth only to spend that as well.